It Don’t Mean a Thing, If It Ain’t Got That Swing
In June 2010, Nik Phelps and I are working up songs for a gig at Old Loui’s, a small jazz club in in Gent, Belgium. We're in Nik’s little garden in the afternoon, playing the 1931 song It Don't Mean A Thing If It Ain't Got That Swing, composed by Duke Ellington, with lyrics by his publisher, Irving Mills. The title is one of the first known uses of the word “Swing” to mean that style of jazz, and so may well have inspired the decades of the ’Thirties and ’Forties to be known ever after as The Swing Era.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Composer Harold Arlen and lyricist Ted Koehler were, for several years, the in-house tunesmiths at The Cotton Club in Harlem. This is one of their earliest hits, from 1931: Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea. (And yes, Nik and I do it in the key of Db.)
The Very Thought of You
Here's a soulful but joyous rendition of one of my favorite ballads: Ray Noble's 1934 hit The Very Thought of You.
My Baby Just Cares for Me
With music by Walter Donaldson and lyrics by Gus Kahn, My Baby Just Cares For Me was a big hit for vaudvillian Eddie Cantor in 1930, though it is perhaps better known, nowadays, in a torchy redition by Nina Simone. I always play it in this uptempo style, but—without changing the sense of the last verse—I have replaced the names of the silent-screen stars it originally celebrated with movie actors and recording artists from the ’Thirties and ’Forties who are better known today. This was recorded at Old Loui’s jazz club.
Taking a Chance on Love
Kathy Frankovic joins us, at Old Loui’s, to sing Taking a Chance On Love, which was showcased in the 1940 movie musical Cabin In the Sky, the tune is by Vernon Duke; the lyrics by John Latouche and Ted Fetter.
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